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What data points should fleet managers be monitoring

Posted by: 
 | Feb 2018

Over the last few years fleet teams have either been incorporated within procurement divisions or had to integrate more procurement practices into their operations. This, coupled with the easy availability of multiple data streams, is leading to an evolutionary change in the modern fleet manager’s role. No longer is it just about keeping employees happy by matching them with the right car, but it is also about streamlining budgets, improving operational efficiency and even pre-emptively solving fleet issues. Fleet managers are under constant pressure to not only manage employee satisfaction but to do so while limiting expenses.

Furthermore, with large amounts of data also being fed in from multiple streams including leasing companies, fuel cards and telematics, a fleet manager must be equal parts data analyst and procurement manager. Given the emerging complexities, it is becoming imperative for a fleet manager to cut through the clutter and focus on the data that matters – a task that is easier said than done, but one that is essential for making meaningful procurement and strategic decisions.

While the first step is undoubtedly managing your fleet data better , the next crucial step is understanding your business needs and identifying the metrics that will help you achieve your objectives.

Keeping this in mind, the following is a list of the key metrics that almost all fleet managers can easily access and use to improve their fleet performance.

 

Upcoming expiries

With procurement teams playing a more integral role in fleet management, it is becoming essential for fleet managers to plan their fleet turnover and replacements. Tracking vehicle expiries well in advance and planning for replacements to meet organisational goals such as savings and emissions reductions is proving vital.

By tracking lease expiration dates and regular mileage updates, fleet managers avoid being caught unprepared. At the same time they can also use this to their advantage by planning replacements months (and sometimes even years) in advance to drive wider fleet strategies and optimisations. How do I phase out highly polluting vehicles and replace them with fuel- and cost-efficient ones? How do I plan my replacements for the year so as to meet my cost-saving targets?

These are the questions at the forefront of the modern fleet manager’s mind.

 

Maintenance and accident costs

High maintenance and accident costs are often a sign of either driver or vehicle quality issues. Tracking these at the level of individual vehicles, vehicle models, individual drivers and even organisation teams/regions, can yield vital clues around how to fine tune your fleet and reduce costs.

These figures can offer insights into structural issues with vehicle models, poor driving practices, or simply a mismatch in vehicles and regions. For example, model X has been known to start having significant maintenance cost after 50,000 miles OR model Y seems to give poorer mileage in specific countries. Understanding these costs and the associated trends can also help fleet managers design more efficient fleet strategies, negotiate better deals with vehicle suppliers and also take proactive actions, such as cautioning, to improve errant drivers and teams.

 

Fleet emissions

As carbon emissions continue to be a major talking point around the world, especially in Europe, where mandatory emission reduction targets by the EU make tracking your fleet’s performance on this metric vital. Managing a healthy emissions limit is good both for the environment and your organisation’s reputation. However, ensuring targets are met by a fleet spread across different regions and suppliers is often a daunting task.

Tracking the emissions (or even the manufacturer-specified emission details) allows fleet managers to easily identify areas of improvement and formulate an effective replacement strategy (in conjunction with aforementioned lease expiry dates) to phase out polluting vehicles. This is of particular importance in Europe where EU legislation mandates fleet emission average for new cars to be 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre. Prior tracking of fleet’s emissions at a vehicle model level followed by a proper replacement strategy will help fleet managers meet these targets with minimal impact on the bottom line.

 

Conclusion

While there are several metrics that fleet managers can track, the decision on which ones to track must be driven by organisational objectives and not just based on data availability. A well-formulated outlook towards fleet strategies, which is a mix of optimising existing fleet reporting processes and employing best-in-class reporting tools, can help fleet managers avoid getting overwhelmed by Excel data sheets and instead focus only on the metrics that matter. 

 

To find out how The Smart Cube can help you better understand your key categories and the forces influencing them, and develop effective sourcing strategies, read more about our procurement intelligence and analytics solutions or get in touch

  • Prerna Dhawan
    As Global Head of Solutions at The Smart Cube, Prerna is responsible for developing and managing our Solutions portfolio across the Procurement & Supply Chain; Commercial, Sales and Marketing; and Financial Services domains. 

    Prerna owns the strategic direction and investment prioritisation across the solutions portfolio in line with the company’s overall business strategy, developing solutions based on customer feedback, market dynamics, competitive trends and internal innovation. Prerna and her team are also responsible for identifying and developing the digital components that underpin our Solutions and working collaboratively with our application specialists to bring these to market. 

    Prerna joined The Smart Cube in 2007 as a research analyst and has held a number of key client-facing roles including Client Account Manager and most recently as Vice-President of Client Solutions across Europe and the UK where she acted as the solution architect for some of our biggest clients.